Why Can’t the Free St. Louis Zoo Have More Entrances?

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It seems simple. The St. Louis Zoo is free, you can come and go as you please. So why can't I come and go where I please? I'm not talking about no fences or an open zoo (akin to the open Bellevue Botanical Garden near Seattle). I would simply like more options.

Zoo visitors often fill all parking in the available parking lots, along Wells Drive, on Government Drive from Wells all the way to the Muny, Carr Lane and even the upper Muny lot. I most often park at Turtle Park at Tamm south of I-64 and walk. So why are more options necessary?

One of, if not the, best thing about a free zoo is that it can used for a casual visit. No need to stay 4hrs or more to get your money's worth. The current entrances cater very heavily to those driving to the park solely to visit the zoo. Having dedicated parking and nearby entrances certainly makes sense, but why not additional entrances? Why not one at the east end of the zoo? Additional entrances should cater to walkers, casual visitors and others exploring the park.


{red=existing entrances, yellow=closed entrance, blue=suggested entrances}

Those visiting the Boat House, Spanish Pavilion, Jewel Box and other attractions should have easy access to a zoo entrance. I would visit the zoo more often if I could enter or exit on the east end (not to mention the zebras and camels would get more of my attention). The zoo should be an easy inclusion during a walk in the park.

It would be wonderful if on a lap walk of the park one could enter the zoo at the Animals Always sculpture and exit at the west end or even south entrance. The sculpture really is best suited for a grand entrance. It's best appreciated up close. I understand why it is placed where it is and it is a wonderful piece of art, but it's not easy to get to. It should be. Visitors inside the zoo should be able to visit the sculpture and return to the zoo.

It would also seemingly be easy to reopen the entrance at the corner of Washington and Government Drives. I don't know if the zoo is trying to sculpt the visitor experience by making me enter at one of two formal entrances, but I would much rather have better access to the zoo. More entrances would make it a more integral part of Forest Park. Park visitors would be more likely to visit on a whim as they get a glimpse of the zoo. Why not make it easier?


{the closed zoo entrance at Washington and Government Drives}

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